Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Rainbow pencil holders

Here are the details of the rainbow pencil holders for my classroom...the idea came from this article in the NZ Herald Sunday magazine by Greig Morgan back in January I think. I loved the rainbow idea as my classroom is going to have a bit of a rainbow theme (hopefully without being OTT as the rainbow theme can look fun or look too much if you know what I mean!) 
My hubby got a piece of the wood below from Bunnings- it's about 50mm wide and was about 150mm long- I can just read from the article that it's called dress gauge pine. He cut out the rainbow shapes after using a plate to draw the circle shape on the wood.

Then he used the electric sander to soften the edges.
Next he painted them with a coat of undercoat and drilled the holes for the pencils. He forgot to not drill the holes too deep though so I'm going to have to put something in the holes or once the kids sharpen their pencils a few times their pencils will be lost down the holes! (in the article it says to wrap a piece of tape around your drill bit so you know when to stop drilling down). Then I painted them the rainbow stripes. Next time I would definitely use paint test pots to do this as I used kids acrylic paint so each rainbow stripe needed A LOT of coats- took forever!!

When they were dry I painted on a layer of modpodge to seal them - varnish would work the same.

This would be a fun school holiday project too if you have older (or mum!) cuts the shape out and the kids can paint them- a cute desk accessory for their bedroom :)
Megan x

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Humpty Dumpty

When Amelie started school last year she came home with spelling words in her homework book called 'Humpty Wall's'.  Basically they are 12 walls of words, each wall having about 6-8 words on it.

Each week or two (or whenever they master the wall they are learning) they move up to a new 'humpty wall' which is a great motivator for them.  If your child can read these words easily he/she will find reading larger pieces of text a lot easier, and the same goes for writing- mastering the spelling of these high frequency words means they will be able to write far more easily and with confidence, and can also then think about using more interesting and challenging words in their writing.  Confidence is so important in the early school years so things like this really help to boost that. Don't worry about getting the flashcards out yet though, I personally don't believe in flashcards or anything that formal before school -some knowledge of the ABC's is very helpful though (which is a whole other blog post....!)

Anyway, not the most riveting blog post so far but here's something cute to make up for it...I came across this super cute Humpty pattern over a year ago and filed it away as something to make one day, and then after getting my teaching job I thought it would be a cute thing to have in the classroom to promote the Humpty Walls, plus act as a class mascot type thing, or something to cuddle when mum or dad leaves in the morning...

The pattern doesn't include many instructions so it was a bit of a trial and error to get him made (I didn't make the arms and legs removable like in the original pattern)-wish I could be bothered making another one as my kids have taken a major shine to him, taking turns having him in their bed at night even:)  I am one of those crafters though who loves making something for the first time and then pretty much has no interest in making whatever it is again once it's finished!!
feeding Humpty
taking him for a walk :)
I bought a bag of wooden blocks last year from a second hand kids shop (which was a great score as I had been wanting some for some other crafty projects) so I printed out the Humpty Wall words and modpodged them onto the blocks so the kids can have fun making a wall and hopefully reading some of the words at the same time!
I got that idea after seeing something like this on a blog ages ago using words stuck onto duplo blocks...
...if you do have younger kids you could put the abc's on your duplo...there are lots of Duplo bulk lots on TradeMe if you are wanting some.

Next project is a cute pencil holder... 
Megan x

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Fine motor skills activity- nuts, bolts and screws

I'm planning on having a quite a few fine motor skills activities in my classroom...they are fun to make and kids enjoy them too, and they are great for those kids that are 'do-ers' and like to keep busy!

What are Fine Motor Skills:

Fine motor skills involve the small muscles of the body that enable such functions as writing, grasping small objects, and fastening clothing. They involve strength, fine motor control, and dexterity.

How Fine Motor Skills Affect Learning and Living Skills:

These skills are important in most school activities as well as in life in general. Weaknesses in fine motor skills can affect a child's ability to eat, write legibly, turn pages in a book, and perform personal care tasks such as dressing and grooming.

I've seen variations on this  'nuts and bolts' activity on lots of blogs, especially ones that are into Montessori teaching materials. This one is such a good one for developing fine motor skills plus it's awesome for problem solving, maths, learning new vocabulary and lots more.  Also it can be a pretty budget friendly activity as you only need to buy the nuts, bolts and screws (if you don't have some already.)  Here are the details for my one (my hubby Ben made it for me.)

Fine motor skills 'Nuts, Bolts and Screws' board
You will need
-piece of wood- this one is about 1.5 cm thick and approx 25cm x 15 cm size
-bolts no longer than the thickness of your piece of wood
-screws - as above- I used flat head screws but it would have been good to have some Phillips ones as well so the kids learnt the difference between the 2 types of screws and had the challenge of matching the right screw driver to the right screw as well (although Ben isn't sure if they actually had Phillips ones)
-things that you use to screw the screws or bolts into the piece of wood- I don't know what they're called but you'll find them with the nuts and bolts -see pic above.  I'll call them base pieces-when Ben went to Bunnings he found individual base pieces already matched to a bolt or a screw which was handy 
-screwdriver the right size for your chosen screws (a short one with a large handle like the orange one on the pic below is easiest for younger children)
-spanner that fits your bolts (Super Cheap Auto had spanners for $1.50 when I went in yesterday)

What to do
1. Drill holes into the piece of wood where you would like the screws/bolts to go
2. Hammer in the base pieces
3. Screw in your bolts and screws

Nuts and bolts sorting and matching activity
One of the things I am always on the lookout for when I go op-shopping is any sort of small divider type bowls like the one below- this one was $1 but I've picked up plastic ones for as little as 20c- they are so handy for kids to sort things into and organise little things.  I got the nuts and bolts from Bunnings- each bolt was 50c - $1.50 approx and the nuts were from 15c - 50c approx.
For this I just bought different size nuts and bolts plus a wing nut and a carabina type thing.  Children will enjoy things like matching up the right size nuts to the bolts, ordering the nuts and bolts from smallest to biggest and also counting how many they can fit onto each bolt.
Another thing you can do with these nuts and bolts is write letters on the faces of each nut and encourage older children to see how many word they can make- great for spelling and learning rhyming words. I just used a sharpie to write the letters on so not sure how long they will last but this post explains how to make them with little stickers and mod lodge- don't know where I'd find those little stickers here in NZ though? Another idea would be to get enough nuts so you can write the letters of their name and they have to spell out their name. 
This post has a good idea too- write a word on the end of the bolt and have the children find the nuts with the right letters to spell the word. 
nuts and bolts spelling words
I've got a few more fine motor skills activities to make so will share those soon as well :)
Megan x

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